The Secret’s in the Mix!
Well known food writer and personality Aoife Carrigy, Chairperson of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild and a regular contributor to FOOD&WINE Magazine and the Irish Independent, launched the exciting new Sligo Food Trail on Wednesday 6th April. The gala launch event took place at The Model, Sligo and showcased the very best of all things culinary in Sligo. Sligo Food Trail is a brand new initiative drawing together more than 60 food-related highlights in County Sligo. It’s a ‘dip in and out’ trail so visitors can map their own route and choose the cuisine or food experience they love best along the Wild Atlantic Way.
“We confidently expect Sligo Food Trail to be the most significant tourism initiative in the county this year”, stated chairman Anthony Gray of Eala Bhán and Trá Bán restaurants and president of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, “The trail aims to deliver tangible benefits for both Sligo and for the members, such as bigger visitors numbers, a greater spend on bed nights and products and increased employment. It will also give the visitor a great reason to linger longer in Sligo and the wider area. Sligo is ideally placed along the Wild Atlantic Way for visitors to enjoy the magnificent scenery and coastal experiences combined with the exciting food offerings which Sligo Food Trail provides”.
Speaking at the launch Aoife Carrigy talked about her own Sligo connections – her parents lived in Sligo back in the 1960s, and said “Sligo is slowly revealing its secrets to me. The county has a growing food reputation, much of this due to the wonderful food ambassadors who work hard to build that reputation”. She spoke of the positive impressions made when she was a Foodie Towns judge and said, “Sligo has the confidence, depth and integrity to succeed, confident that it is OK to be true to its roots and simultaneously modern and contemporary. The link in all the food offerings and food experiences is the stylishness and the remarkable energy coming from all involved”. She concluded by saying it was no wonder people in Sligo have been eating well for 5,000 years!
During Aoife Carrigy’s speech, the wonderful new Sligo Food Trail video was shown and was received with rapturous applause. The stunning visuals are accompanied by music from Kieran Quinn, Steve Wickham, Seamie O’Dowd and Cathy Jordan. It can be seen on the website.
John Mulcahy, Head of Hospitality, Failte Ireland talked about the change in the food arena in Ireland over the last 10 years and said, “Sligo Food Trail is a signpost for the future – it is a result of the efforts of many. You are going to do serious mileage with this venture.”
Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland is the founder of the Foodie Towns award and also spoke of the strong impression Sligo had made during the judging process. He asserted that “The day will come when Sligo is the number one foodie destination in Ireland”.
Also speaking at the launch was Dorothy Clarke, Director of Services, Sligo LEO who spoke of the importance of investing in such a venture, and said, “There could be further funding for initiatives such as this. We admire the ambition of Sligo Food Trail and will work with you to help it”.
Sligo Food Trail members are an exciting mix of producers, markets, cafes, restaurants, craft beer, gastro pubs and accommodation. The trail will introduce visitors and locals alike to the blend of food and cultural experience on offer. To encourage people to really engage with the wonderful landscape and local food, Sligo Food Trail features a series of ‘food experiences’. These are anything from a craft beer tour (with tastings of course), a guided seashore walk to identify seaweeds and enjoy lunch on the seashore, to a pizza making workshop for kids. The Sligo Food Trail video brings these food experiences to life, showcasing seaweed harvesting, foraging, afternoon tea treats, bread making, wine tasting and more.
Good food is nothing new in Sligo; in fact the name is derived from ‘Sligeach’ (meaning ‘a shelly place’) from the abundance of fresh shellfish along the coast, rivers and estuaries. In Culleenamore, there is evidence of shellfish being consumed by humans 5,000 years ago. Sligo Food Trail is the best introduction to this food lovers’ paradise, abundant in the fruits of this magnificent landscape and the wild Atlantic, served to you with pride.
Information on Sligo Food Trail is readily available through the website (www.sligofoodtrail.ie), social media and an attractive printed map/brochure combination. The free map will be available in the Fáilte Ireland Tourist Information Offices. It will have full details of all members plus descriptions and booking details for the food experiences.
The project is funded by CEDRA, Dept. of Agriculture, Sligo County Council, LEO Sligo, Food Trail Members, Fáilte Ireland and Sligo Tourism Ltd.
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